October 17, 2010

Jackson enjoys exciting weekend

Traevon Jackson, a 2011 basketball commit for Bo Ryan's Badgers, was not about to let his dad off the hook when David Gilreath returned the opening kickoff in Saturday's marquee college football game.

Jim Jackson, one of the best basketball players Ohio State has ever produced, received a pretty confident text from his son.

"I texted him 'Uh-oh,' the younger Jackson said Sunday evening. "He knew they were in trouble, too."

The good-natured ribbing was just a small sample of a monumental sports weekend in Wisconsin's capitol city for Jackson.

In town to soak it all in, including the basketball team's season kickoff event inside the fabled and historic UW Fieldhouse, Jackson enjoyed a great weekend on campus.

"It was good," Jackson said of the team's scrimmage. "It was the first time they put it on so it was good to see all the people come out. They shot the ball really well and I got to see what they are doing. They only had practice for a day, but it was a great event to see them come out and play the way they did in front of all the people that came out."

The UW athletic department announced an attendance of 2,650 people for the Fieldhouse Madness event, the first of its kind to be held in the venue. After watching his future teammates and coaching staff perform on that stage, Jackson ventured over to Camp Randall Stadium to witness the 31-18 win over No. 1 Ohio State.

That was an experience in and of itself.

"It was great," Jackson said. "It was a great weekend to take your official visit. It was great for me and the other commits that were there, Frank Kaminsky, George Marshall and Jared Uthoff. It was a great time. I got to rush the field after the game with the fans.

"I've never done that before and it was great."

Hailing from Westerville South High in Westerville, Ohio, Jackson is good friends with current Wisconsin football recruit Ray Ball. Though they didn't make the trip together, Jackson did have some contact with Ball throughout the weekend.

"He had a game Friday," Jackson said. "I got to see him three times when we were up here. I saw him before the game, during the game and I saw him after the game. He loved it."

According to Jackson, Ball made the trip with his younger brother Marcus and a friend. Jackson wouldn't be surprised to see a commitment in the coming weeks from the 6-foot-7, 320-pound offensive lineman.

"It was good seeing him come up here," Jackson said. "He needs to hurry up and commit. I think it will happen real soon. Hopefully in the next week or two he should be doing it. He's a Badger at heart and he knows he wants to go there.

"It's just a matter of him saying and declaring it."

For Jackson, the weekend started Friday evening. Though he didn't stay with a player, Jackson did get to hang out with a number of them throughout the course of the weekend.

He also had an opportunity to talk with coach Ryan and the rest of the staff.

"We talked to him a lot," Jackson said of Ryan. "I wasn't trying to bug him that much just because I wanted to hang out with the commits. I knew there were a couple of other commits around and he had the team going on to practice. He was great. All the coaches were great. Coach Lamont Paris, coach Greg Gard and coach Gary Close.

"They all gave me great hospitality as well as the other commits. This morning (Sunday) we all had breakfast before we left with us and all the coaches."

Jackson, who is set to sign his letter of intent this November, is eager for his senior season to begin.

"We've been doing a lot of conditioning and open gyms lately and lifting," Jackson said. "Our first practice is I think in the first week of November and our first game is December 5th. We've got eight returning varsity players and three of those are starters from last year. We've got some young freshmen coming in that are pretty good.

"We're going to be nice and we're going to be pretty good. As long as we get that chemistry and play together and play hard we'll be pretty good.

"We can make a run at that title."

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